Incoming: A rambling ramble about a show that plays off nostalgia. Be prepared.
So, I can’t lie – I heard That’s So Raven was getting a grown up reboot sequel thing and…forgot it was happening. So when YouTube started recommending bootlegs of the episodes I really couldn’t help but look at it. I just had to see it. Raven was my favorite Disney show (move out of the way Lizzie! Raven has magic powers).
I hadn’t watched the original show since I was in sixth grade at the point when I saw this. I was just going into middle school when Raven (the actress, not the character) was turning into a musical cheetah. Let’s just say adult me isn’t nearly as interested in That’s So Raven as kid me was. It certainly still has it’s charm, but the characters were pretty damn dumb. They haven’t gotten much smarter, which both works for and fails the show. There’s a line and they cross it now and then. When teen Raven caused shenanigans in school it was fairly amusing. When adult Raven causes shenanigans at her kids’ school it’s…mildly creepy. Thankfully that doesn’t happen much.
Shenanigans in general, though, are Raven staples. They have a vision of the future, try to avoid it, and by golly wouldn’t you know their crazy actions to stop the future are exactly what ensures that future comes to pass. Every time.
Oh Raven. How have you not realized this yet?
When they aren’t causing trouble the show is actually pretty charming. It’s basically about Raven and Chelsea, now a pair of single moms, trying to make the best life they can for their kids. Chelsea has one – a boy who has it together enough because she’s still just as much of a mess as always – and Raven has twins, fathered by her long-time crush from the original series. Which didn’t work out. I like that. They went with the old childhood sweethearts trope and played it about as straight as it can be played.
On the realism scale, financially it’s on par with pretty much every other show Disney does. Somehow on basically one income (since I’m pretty sure only Raven has a job, but Devon has to pay some kind of child support I’m sure) the two moms are raising their three kids in a three bedroom apartment in Chicago while I, with a fairly average salary, couldn’t even come close to affording a Chicago apartment even if I split it three ways with three full-time wage earning adults. Oh, and the bedrooms in their apartment are bigger than my living room in my current apartment in a much cheaper city than Chicago that I already do split with a roommate in order to be able to afford something better than a studio in a dilapidated neighborhood. Sounds legit. Legit enough for their theme song to say they’re struggling but they’re making it look good. Yep.
I’m totally not jealous. Nope. But I do kind of wish that for once Disney would take a spin at real average living. Not that whole Murphy bed thing Paris (from the Suite Life of Zach and Cody) had to sleep on that one time her dad lost all his money somehow for like a day. Actual real average-ness. I know, it would probably take away from the whimsy if they had a correctly sized living room for their salary, but I’m seriously tired of everyone – not just Disney – showing average America as though we’re super rich. That’s only creating more problems, and Disney really has enough sway that if they addressed this issue even a little they could create a ripple effect. But enough of my political ranting. That I shall save for another blog I’m working on creating – a real blog with intent of trying to make some more money so maybe I can move to an apartment where the laundry room is at least in the same building as me. Working title: “Socialization Media – A look as how society is shaped by media.” Instead of Social Media. Haha. So funny. Yep. Moving on.
Emotionally, this show is also standard Disney fare. Though in this regards I’m thinking of early to late 2000s Disney fare since Wizards of Waverly Place is the most recent live-action Disney show I’ve seen and even at that point I didn’t actually watch Disney live-action shows anymore. So without even knowing the names of current Disney programming, I can say that Raven’s Home is very similar to Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, and, yes, That’s So Raven. Only this time instead of solely focusing on the kids with some adult plot mixed in it’s more 50-50. Not to mention that for viewers who grew up with Raven there’s a long standing connection with the adults. Instead of getting to know them through the show, we already know their stories. Sure we’re missing a decade but Raven and Chelsea are like old friends. We can pick right up where we left off.
Despite my distaste for how ridiculous the shenanigans are and my inability to recreate the magic that is their current financial and living situations, I identify with these guys. Yes. Buying a new toilet brush can be very exciting when you’re a lame old adult. More than that though – having a typical Disney financial situation, they are dealing with a lot of adult things things realistically. Beyond cleaning the bathroom, Raven can be found repairing things with duct tape and struggling to manage her time. Episode seven even addressed something that always irritated me: the expectation for parents to be involved in school.
Tons of shows play with this trope where if a parent isn’t active enough they get shamed or whatever, but my high school was actually like that. I was so mad when they implied my mom wasn’t doing a good job because she couldn’t help out, financially or otherwise, with fundraisers. My single mom, raising two kids while working 60-80 hour weeks. Yeah, she’s totally not doing enough for her kids. Greedy stupid school. I know, the school was broke too and couldn’t afford to not have parents giving money at every turn, but it was expensive enough just being a part of clubs. I didn’t participate in sports because of the pay-to-play fees and I don’t hold that against my school. Without those fees, we wouldn’t have had sports teams. But we also couldn’t afford a couple hundred dollars a year on top of uniforms and everything else. Raven’s Home doesn’t address all that of course. Really, can we ever expect Disney to handle money issues realistically? What Raven’s Home does do is praise Raven for all that she does, even if all that she does means she doesn’t have time to volunteer on a regular basis. I really loved that. Moms really deserve better treatment since there’s no one right way to be a parent. Some people have to work long hours to make ends meet. Society needs to stop shaming them for that. Chelsea certainly knows where its at when she helps Raven feel better after the principal tries to imply she’s a bad mom for not baking literally hundreds of cookies by herself for a school dance. Seriously. Hundreds. By herself.
Speaking of Chelsea – I don’t think I ever shipped them before. Welp. Better late than never. Holy crap do I want them to just get married. Not even in a ‘come on Disney get some representation up in here’ kind of way but honestly their characters gel so well together that it would just work. They’re such great moms raising their three kids together, and they play off each other like a married couple.
I don’t go out of my way to watch the show but I also get excited when I do catch an episode. Maybe I should put more effort in. This show is definitely bringing the smiles and that in and of itself is worth it.